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newsclips -- Newsclips for March 16, 2011.

Posted: 16 Mar 2011 12:54:00
California Air Resources Board News Clips for March 16, 2011.  
This is a service of the California Air Resources Board’s Office
of Communications.  You may need to sign in or register with
individual websites to view some of the following news articles.


EPA Issues New Proposal To Regulate Mercury, Other Air Emissions
From Coal-Fired Power Plants.  HOUSTON — The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency has announced a proposal to regulate emissions
from coal-fired power plants, including rules limiting mercury
pollution for the first time.  The proposal is being praised by
environmental and medical groups who say it will clean the air
and preserve health.  Posted. 

Japan Radiation Risk To California Is Downplayed. Health
officials say there is no threat at this time because of the
distance nuclear radiation would have to travel. But that is not
stopping some from taking their own precautions. Within days,
nuclear radiation released from Japan's damaged Fukushima
reactors could reach California, but experts say the amount that
makes its way across the ocean should pose no danger. "What we're
being told is that there is no threat to California at this
time," said Mike Sicilia, a spokesman for the California
Department of Public Health. "It's a matter of distance.
Dangerous radioactivity could not cross the 5,000 miles of the
Pacific without petering out." Posted. 

Q&A Radiation Exposure And The Effects On Human Health. A look at
what could happen to people who are exposed to radiation in the
Japanese nuclear crisis. As engineers have fought to avert a
meltdown at the earthquake- and tsunami-crippled Fukushima No. 1
(Daiichi) power plant, nuclear authorities have reported that
spikes of radiation have escaped from the facility at levels that
can be dangerous to human health. Authorities have evacuated more
than 170,000 people within 12 miles of the plant and have warned
those within 20 miles to stay indoors and close off ventilation
systems. Posted.

EPA Deploys More Radiation Monitors To The West Coast. As public
concern grows about radiation from Japan possibly drifting to the
West Coast of the United States, the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency on Tuesday announced that it will deploy more
electronic monitors that measure radiation levels in the air. The
monitors, which detect gamma radiation and radioactive particles,
will be set up in "parts of the Western U.S. and U.S.
territories," the agency said in a statement. EPA officials,
however, refused to answer questions or make staff members
available to explain the exact location and number of monitors,
or the levels of radiation, if any, being recorded at existing
monitors in California. Posted.

Tuolumne County Leaders Delay Action On Open-Pit Mining.  Sonora
— The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors had out-of-town
visitors Tuesday — about a dozen Stanislaus County, Riverbank and
Oakdale officials who have objections to a proposed open-pit mine
that would border Stanislaus County.  Posted. 

Cement Industry Is Set Against EPA Climate Rule. The cement
industry warned yesterday that U.S. EPA regulations will cripple
its business and send shocks through the economy. The Portland
Cement Association (PCA), the Illinois-based group representing
cement makers in the United States, detailed in a report
yesterday how seven EPA policies would squander up to 4,000 jobs
in the industry, stifle the construction sector that depends on
it, and fail to cut emissions as production goes to countries
such as China. Of the seven policies, only two directly deal with
climate; several of the policies haven't been approved or
effected yet. Posted.


GOP Lawmakers Threaten To Withhold Votes Unless Environmental
Rules Are Rewritten. Five Republicans whose votes are crucial to
passage of Gov. Jerry Brown's spending proposal demand sweeping
changes in the California Environmental Quality Act.
Environmentalists are outraged. The handful of Republican
lawmakers most likely to provide crucial votes for Gov. Jerry
Brown's budget plan are threatening to withhold their support
without a dramatic rewriting of state environmental law. Posted.

Panel Oks Bill Blocking EPA Greenhouse Gas Rules. Washington --
The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 34-19 Tuesday to
approve legislation that would block the Environmental Protection
Agency from regulating greenhouse gases and gut California's
landmark limits on those emissions from cars. The legislation is
a broadside against the EPA, which has become a lightning rod for
anti-regulation Republicans now in charge of the House. The House
is set to consider the EPA-blocking bill before its Easter recess
next month. Posted.

House Committee Votes To Strip EPA Of CO2 Regulatory Authority. A
bill designed to revoke U.S. EPA's authority to regulate
greenhouse gases from smokestacks and the tailpipes of future
vehicles passed a key House committee yesterday, remaining
largely unchanged despite efforts by House Democrats to offer a
bevy of amendments. 
The "Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011" passed the House Energy
and Commerce Committee 34-19. Posted.

Regulators Embrace Voluntary Carbon. The global carbon markets
began quietly in the late 1980s as part of a voluntary effort to
save rainforests, but these small, voluntary efforts were quickly
eclipsed – and often dismissed – when the Kyoto Protocol ushered
in compliance markets a decade later.  Now, however, it’s the
compliance markets that are turning to the voluntary markets for
guidance as regulators and voluntary market players rush to meet
halfway. Posted.


City of Compton Fined $48,000 for Fleet Violations. The
California Air Resources Board has fined the City of Compton
$48,800 for a variety of infractions pertaining to its diesel
fleet vehicles, including failing to properly maintain and
self-inspect its diesel trucks and register construction
equipment, as required by state law. ARB investigators cited the
city for failing to test and maintain records of smoke levels
from its fleet of heavy-duty diesel vehicles for 2008 and 2009.
The city was also faulted for not updating its trash trucks with
diesel particulate filters and affixing proper labels according
to a pre-set schedule. Posted.


Ethanol Output in U.S. Increases 1.4%, Energy Department Says.
U.S. ethanol production jumped 1.4 percent to 895,000 barrels a
day last week, the biggest advance in two months, according to
the Energy Department. Output rose to the highest level since the
week ended Feb. 4 and the gain was the largest since Jan. 14, the
department said in a report released in Washington. Stockpiles
grew to 19.91 million barrels, the highest level since July 2.
Production of conventional gasoline blended with ethanol climbed
0.9 percent to 4.91 million barrels a day. Refiners receive a
45-cent tax credit for every gallon of ethanol blended into the
motor fuel. Denatured ethanol for March delivery advanced 3
cents, or 1.3 percent, to $2.375 a gallon at 10:45 a.m. New York
time on the Chicago Board of Trade. Futures have climbed 54
percent in the past year. Posted.

E.U. Taxes Will Penalize Carbon-Heavy Energy Sources. A proposed
overhaul of European fuel taxes will narrow the price gap between
gasoline and diesel and make biofuels and biomass more
competitive with traditional energy sources. The continent's €240
billion ($334.4 billion) annual taxation of energy offers the
lowest taxes to the most polluting sources, countering the
European Union's goal of lowering carbon emissions by 20 percent
by 2020. Taxation commissioner Algirdas Semeta has proposed a
carbon tax of €20 per tonne of CO2 and a minimum energy tax on
motor fuels and heating fuels, according to a draft document.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/03/16/8


Climate Corps Interns Help Businesses Save Energy. Cisco Systems
is installing energy-saving devices throughout its R&D labs. EBay
upgraded its lights to LED, installed power-management software
and replaced most of its desktop computers with laptops.
Shorenstein Properties adjusted the heating and cooling systems
for its buildings. Now it plans a road show to educate its
thousands of tenants about sustainability. The three companies
are among 50 firms participating in Climate Corps, a project of
the Environmental Defense Fund. Climate Corps
(www.edfclimatecorps.org) "embeds" MBA students as summer interns
at corporations nationwide to develop action plans to cut their
energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Posted.

Renewable Energy Is Now An Economic Gold Mine. In the past
decade, renewables have jumped from being a niche industry to a
mainstream economic powerhouse, states a recent report. The
report, published by Clean Edge Inc., says that the number of
hybrid vehicles has increased more than a hundredfold, and that
the solar energy market has grown by 40 percent per year from
2000 to 2010. Wind saw a comparable increase, growing 30 percent
each year, from $4.5 billion to $60.5 billion. Almost one-quarter
of venture capital in the United States goes to clean-tech
projects -- the amount was less than 1 percent in 2000. Posted.


5 Myths About Nuclear Energy.  Explosions. Radiation.
Evacuations. More than 30 years after Three Mile Island, the
unfolding crisis in Japan has brought back some of the worst
nightmares surrounding nuclear power — and restarted a major
debate about the merits and the drawbacks of this energy source. 

Scripps: Global Warming More Common That Scientists Thought.
Earth has undergone periods of rapid and intense global warming
far more often than scientists once believed, possibly with
limited biological impact, says a new study from a team led by
the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla. The findings
are based on an analysis of sea floor sediments that are being
used to figure out how such change affected marine ecosystems in
the past and what could happen when the planet warms in the
future, says the study, to be published March 17 in the journal
Nature. Posted.

New Republic: Japan Holds A Lesson For US Politics. The
earthquake and potential nuclear catastrophe in Japan have
brought home a set of questions that have haunted philosophers
for hundreds of years — and have played an important role in
American politics for over a century. They have to do with the
relationship between humanity and nature — not nature as "the
outdoors," but as the obdurate bio-geo-physiochemical reality in
which human beings and other animals dwell. To what extent does
nature set limits on human possibilities? And to what extent can
human beings overcome these limits? Posted.


House Panel to Question Nuclear Regulatory and Energy Chiefs. 
The House Energy and Commerce committee opens a hearing at 9:30
a.m. on Wednesday in which it will hear from two witnesses who
are suddenly much more prominent because of events in Japan:
Steven Chu, the secretary of energy, the chief administration
official addressing the crisis involving the Japanese reactors,
and Gregory B. Jaczko, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission, which has sent personnel to Japan and is charged with
preventing accidents here in the United States.  Posted. 

On Climate Change, It Didn’t Have To Be This Way.  As a follow-up
to my comments in today’s Wonkbook, it’s easy to forget that as
recently as three years ago, the Republican presidential nominee
was an avowed believer in not just global warming, but efforts to
combat it. “We stand warned by serious and credible scientists
across the world that time is short and the dangers are great,”
John McCain said in May of 2008. “The most relevant question now
is whether our own government is equal to the challenge.” 

Global Warming Alarmism Continues To Backfire. A new Gallup poll
is delivering bad news to global warming alarmists, showing
Americans are becoming more and more skeptical of hysterical
global warming claims. The alarmists are bemoaning these results
and saying they need to be more forceful and creative in
delivering their message of doom and gloom. But the
global-warming religionists are losing credibility with the
American public precisely because they are too forceful and
creative in delivering speculative global warming claims, not
because they are too conservative and demure. Posted.

New Study Sheds Light on Air Quality Impacts of the BP Oil Spill.
According to a new study, the chemicals that spewed into the Gulf
of Mexico from the BP Oil Spill set off a complex chain of
chemical reactions forming air pollution aerosols. Unfortunately
these aerosols weren’t adequately monitored for at the time of
the spill.  While this study did not look at the impacts of this
pollution on the clean-up workers or onshore communities, it
raises important questions about what Gulf communities were
exposed to during the oil spill and shows the need for improved
air quality monitoring. During the oil spill, clean-up workers
and coastal communities reported odors and respiratory symptoms
linked to winds coming off the oil slick.  Posted.

Removing Mercury and Other Toxics From the Air We Breathe. This
week, the EPA proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, a Clean
Air Act protection that sets the first-ever national safeguards
to limit power plant releases of mercury, arsenic, chromium,
nickel and acid gases into the air we breathe. America’s power
plants are the source of half of the mercury emissions, half of
the acid gases, and a quarter of all toxic metal pollution in the
U.S, and almost half of America’s coal plants lack advanced
pollution controls. Posted.

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